Denise Nickerson, who played the bratty, bloated Violet Beauregarde in 1971’s Willy Wonka & the coco Factory and also a sweet-natured orphan bedeviled through ghosts and werewolves on the classic ’60s mythological soap Dark Shadows, died Wednesday night in ~ a hospital close to her home in Colorado. In declining health due to the fact that suffering a stroke critical year, Nickerson was gotten rid of from life assistance by she family previously that day. She was 62.

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Nickerson’s boy Josh Nickerson posted news that his mother’s death on facebook after keeping friends and also fans apprised of her health issues. Denise Nickerson to be a longtime attendee at pan conventions for both Wonka and also Dark Shadows.


“She’s gone,” Nickerson’s family posted on Facebook.


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Born in new York City in 1957, Nickerson started acting on shows consisting of The physicians and Flipper prior to landing she breakthrough duty in 1968 as small Amy Jennings on Dan Curtis’ gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. Teamed v young David Henesy, the two child actors to be at the facility of a wildly popular storyline influenced by Henry James’ The rotate of the Screw, in i m sorry the kids were haunted and eventually own by a ghost called Quentin Collins (David Selby, in his very own breakthrough role).

Nickerson, together with the rest of the cast, was soon showing up on covers of teenybopper magazines, v fans waiting exterior ABC’s Hells Kitchen studio every day because that autographs.

But the soap’s outsize popularity vanished as conveniently as the arrived, and also upon that cancellation in 1971 Nickerson soon found herself one of the few cast members come land a duty that would certainly prove as resilient in memory and pop society as the Collins family curse.

But very first there to be a flop – and also a big one: Nickerson play the title function in 1971’s Lolita, mine Love, a well known stage musical failure by john Barry and also My fair Lady’s Alan Jay Lerner, based on the Nabokov novel. Co-starring john Neville, Dorothy Loudon, and also The guys In The Band‘s Leonard Frey, Lolita, my Love played pre-Broadway engagements in Philadelphia and also Boston, ravaged by critics and also closing before hitting brand-new York. With a report loss the $900,000, Lolita, my Love would conveniently enter the annals of notorious Broadway flops.

Fortunately because that Nickerson, climate 13, a far better booking soon followed when she was actors as Violet Beauregarde, the gum-chewing typical girl that 1971’s Willy Wonka & the chocolate Factory. giving star Gene Wilder’s exasperated Wonka plenty to play against, Nickerson stole part gum (and each of her scenes), payment a hefty price: as her skin turns purple, she swells come the size of a giant, ring blueberry. Together she’s rolled to the “juicing room” by the Oompa-Loompas, Nickerson’s ready-to-blow Violet has end up being the film’s most memorable villain and kids movie cautionary tale.


A few roles adhered to – Search for Tomorrow, The Brady Bunch, Allison in The electrical Company, in Michael Ritchie’s Smile. Nickerson would later say in interviews that she auditioned because that the duty of the possessed Regan in 1973’s The Exorcist but her parents believed the material too disturbing. After showing up in Don Weis’ 1978 film Zero come Sixty the opposite Darren McGavin and Sylvia miles (who died last month), Nickerson retirement from acting to pursue a education career.

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Jeff Baker, Ronnee Sass, Paris Themmen, Denise Nickerson, Rusty Goffe, Mel Stuart, Julie Cole, Tom Lucas, 40th Anniversary the ‘Willy Wonka’, 2011Shutterstock

Nostalgia conventions and also cast reunions retained her in touch with fans that both Willy Wonka and Dark Shadows, and last summer her son Josh common news on society media the Nickerson had suffered a severe stroke. Her wellness deteriorated transparent the year, and, follow to a Go fund Me page collection up by her child to pay fatality expenses, she had actually recently remained in a “coma-like state” after experiencing a seizure and also pneumonia. She was removed from life-support Wednesday.